We do not shy away from difficulties, but we look for means to turn them into opportunities.
Dear Fellow Stakeholders
As we are all aware, 2020 was an unimaginably difficult year. Around the world, everyone has been directly impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, both personally and professionally. The hotel industry was one of the hardest hit industries, with tourism and travel grinding to a standstill as countries went into lockdown and borders closed. Inevitably, Minor International, along with many other hospitality operators, was severely impacted by the pandemic.
away from difficulties. Instead, we look for means to turn these challenges into opportunities. As an agile company, we acted quickly and decisively. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented a Business Beyond COVID Committee to formulate a strategic recovery roadmap amidst the challenges and uncertainties. We identified and prioritized issues, and classified them into immediate, medium-term and long-term priorities.
I am proud to say that we are emerging from the crisis ahead of many of our industry competitors and took proactive actions to ensure our resilience as a company. We placed the well-being of our stakeholders as an utmost priority and implemented enhanced safety and hygiene at our hotels and restaurants in order to protect our guests, customers and team members. Anantara Siam Bangkok was the first hotel in Thailand to become Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED® with Forbes Travel Guide and to receive the “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and a certificate of a Lodging Facility with High Hygiene and Safety Standards from the Department of Health and Ministry of Public Health. Minor Food was one of the first operators to implement and promote the “Zero Touch Delivery” protocol, and to receive the SHA certification.
Minor International was one of the first companies in the travel industry to access the capital market. We quickly performed stress test and scenario analysis, and announced a comprehensive capital strengthening plan. Within three months, we successfully completed the plan and raised equity through issuance of rights, perpetual bonds and warrants.
Looking back to 2020, we have navigated through the toughest time in Minor International’s history. I believe the worst is already behind us. Given many uncontrollable factors including the second or even a third wave of the pandemic, we focused on minimizing cash outflows and preserving liquidity. Amidst the uncertainties, one thing is certain: we never compromised the quality of our products and services. Financially, the goal is to maintain the strength of our balance sheet.
As we move into 2021, the increasingly promising news of the vaccine finally offers a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. The operations and performance of Minor Food have already recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels since the third quarter of 2020, thanks to the strength of our delivery strategy, continued product innovations and strong operational platform. For Minor Hotels, as the vaccine becomes widely available and is distributed around the globe, borders will reopen, allowing people to resume their long-awaited traveling activities. I believe that Europe, the geography that was the hardest hit in our portfolio, will demonstrate the strongest recovery, especially with its solid customer base of regional travelers.
Looking beyond COVID-19, we have already pivoted to exist within the new normal. Minor International has always been proactive in adapting to changes, as proven in the past. With the growth of the delivery market accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak, and its potential to further grow over the next five years, Minor Food will continue to strengthen its delivery platform, mobile application and brand equity.
As guests seek healthy lifestyle solutions, Minor Hotels has formed partnerships with various wellness specialists. The collaboration between M.K. Real Estate Development Pcl., Minor Hotels and VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center, a subsidiary company of the renowned Bumrungrad International Hospital, resulted in RAKxa, a new integrative wellness and medical retreat debuting to guests in Bangkok’s “Green Lung”, a protected jungle-clad island on the Chao Phraya River in December 2020. RAKxa will deliver tailored wellness programs designed by certified medical doctors combining advanced medical treatments with revered holistic therapies alongside renowned Thai hospitality. Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas joined forces with Verita Healthcare Group of Singapore to launch VIVID by Verita Health, its first IV drip bar, at Anantara Siam Bangkok. Furthermore, Minor Hotels partnered with VLCC Group, an Indian-based beauty and fitness services chain, to introduce therapeutic wellness and beauty centers at our hotels, of which the first will open in 2021 at Avani+ Hua Hin Resort.
I am proud to say that in 2020 we continued to selectively expand our hotel portfolio, in accordance with our prior commitments. Through a lease agreement with Covivio, a real estate investor in Europe, NH Hotel Group expanded into the high-end hotel segment with eight hotels under Anantara, NH Collection and NH Hotels in prime locations in Rome, Florence, Venice, Nice, Prague and Budapest. We also expanded our portfolio of hotels under management, with the launch of Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas, Avani Palm View Dubai and Oaks Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai.
In the face of these challenges, we remain committed as ever to our sustainability. This year, we maintained our status in the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index, the FTSE4Good Emerging Index, the MSCI ESG Leaders Index and Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI) by the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Moreover, we received “Excellent” CG scoring (5-star) by the Thai Institute of Directors Association (IOD) for the 8th consecutive year.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders for their support throughout this extremely difficult time. I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of our team members’ hard work and perseverance, in continuing to drive and deliver performance throughout the organization during what was an unprecedented 2020. Our team spirit and solidarity will reinforce our strength, and we will emerge from this crisis a much stronger and more efficient company. I am excited to work even harder with everyone to return to profitability in 2021.
William Ellwood Heinecke
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